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Chapter 101

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Of what disposition, of what behaviour, of whatform, how acoutred, and how armed should the combatants be in order thatthey may be competent for battle?’

“Bhishma said, ‘It is proper that those weapons and vehicles should beadopted (by particular bodies of combatants) with which they have becomefamiliar by use. Brave soldiers, adopting those weapons and vehicles,engage in battle. The Gandharvas, the Sindhus, and the Sauviras fightbest with their nails and lances. They are brave and endued with greatstrength. Their armies are capable of vanquishing all forces, TheUsinaras are possessed of great strength and skilled in all kinds ofweapons. The Easterners are skilled in fighting from the backs ofelephants and are conversant with all the ways of unfair fight. TheYavanas, the Kamvojas, and those that dwell around Mathura are wellskilled in fighting with bare arms. The Southerners are skilled infighting sword in hand. It is well-known that persons possessed of greatstrength and great courage are born in almost every country. Listen to meas I describe their indications. They that have voices and eyes likethose of the lion or the tiger, they that have a gait like that of thelion and the tiger, and they that have eyes like those of the pigeon orthe snake, are all heroes capable of grinding hostile ranks.[303] Theythat have a voice like deer, and eyes like those of the leopard or thebull, are possessed of great activity. They whose voice resembles that ofbells, are excitable, wicked, and wrathful. They that have a voice deepas that of the clouds, that have wrathful face, or faces like those ofcamels, they that have hooked noses and tongues, are possessed of greatspeed and can shoot or hurl their weapons to a great distance. They thathave bodies curved like that of the cat, and thin hair and thin skin,become endued with great speed and restlessness and almost invincible inbattle. Some that are possessed of eyes closed like those of the iguana,disposition that is mild, and speed and voice like the horses, arecompetent to fight all foes. They that are of well-knit and handsome andsymmetrical frames, and broad chests, that become angry upon hearing theenemy’s drum or trumpet, that take delight in affrays of every kind, thathave eyes indicative of gravity, or eyes that seem to shoot out, or eyesthat are green, they that have faces darkened with frowns, or eyes likethose of the mongoose, are all brave and capable of casting away theirlives in battle. They that have crooked eyes and broad foreheads andcheek-bones not covered with flesh and arms strong as thunder-bolts andfingers bearing circular marks, and that are lean with arteries andnerves that are visible, rush with great speed when the collision ofbattle takes place. Resembling infuriated elephants, they becomeirresistible. They that have greenish hair ending in curls, that haveflanks, cheeks, and faces fat and full of flesh, that have elevatedshoulders and broad necks, that have fearful visages and fat calves, thatare fiery like (Vasudeva’s horse) Sugriva or like the offspring ofGaruda, the son of Vinata, that have round heads, large mouths, faceslike those of cats, shrill voice and wrathful temper, that rush tobattle, guided by its din, that are wicked in behaviour and full ofhaughtiness, that are of terrible countenances, and that live in theoutlying districts, are all reckless of their lives and never flyawayfrom battle. Such troops should always be placed in the van. They alwaysslay their foes in fight and suffer themselves to be slain withoutretreating. Of wicked behaviour and outlandish manners, they regard softspeeches as indications of defeat. If treated with mildness, they alwaysexhibit wrath against their sovereign.'”

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